Caring for your Skin, Soul & Planet
It was only a few weeks ago that I was doubled over in pain, unable to breathe without my stomach and chest feeling like the muscles and ligaments were being stretched to tearing point. I spent a day in bed, sitting, pondering, literally willing my body to heal. Of course I also used Dr Google to diagnose myself with gallstones appendicitis, pancreatitis, and any other ‘citis’ out there.
BY JANE – ELKWOOD HOLISTIC
It was in these moments of pain and discomfort I remembered that our lives can completely change at any given time. I made a silent pact with myself never to take for granted my good health, my able body, and a life free from pain & sickness.
It’s funny isn’t it, that it can take extreme moments of ill health for us to truly appreciate this gift we have been given. This body, our vehicle for this earthly experience that we so often put last. These legs and feet that can take us anywhere in the world we wish to go, they can run and climb to keep us out of harms way. These arms and hands which hold our babies for hours on end and enable us to create, to play and to embrace. Our eyes, our ears, our nose and mouth that act as our guides for the world around us. Our skin, our biggest organ which holds all of our insides nicely together, that grows as we grow, from a tiny baby to an adult, continuously expanding, replacing & protecting. It is our insulation to protect us from variances in temperature, it contains super hero like healing abilities with antibacterial properties to fight against infection when the skin is cut or grazed and similar to a plant photosynthesising, our skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun to promote calcium absorption. It really is amazing this body of ours, a complete microcosm that works in harmony to grow, thrive & repair itself.
For some reason though there has always been the search for the holy grail of youth, to be forever young, with companies in the billion dollar skincare industry promising to turn back the clock with ‘miracle’ creams promoting their ‘age defying’ ‘gravity defying’ ‘anti-wrinkle’ properties. But why? We age, we evolve, it is what we are and it can be such a beautiful process if we stop fighting it and begin to embrace it.
Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxiane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Plankton Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Juice Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Whey Protein/Lactis Protein/Proteine Du Petit-Lait, Pinanediol, Camphanediol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Ergothioneine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Caffeine, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Linoleic Acid, Sodium Mannose Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Cholesterol, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.
This is the ingredients list from one well known brand of anti ageing cream, and all of this is contained in just 30 mils of cream. I don’t have a degree in chemistry so had to google what these ingredients were. Amongst them are non biodegradable silicone, petro chemicals (yes the same stuff you put in your car) that are able to dissolve stainless steel, and a preservative that has been proven to be highly toxic to humans and is limited to 1% use in a product which is advised to only be used on adults and not on children under 3 years old. Keep in mind this is on the label of a high end face cream directed to be used daily.
Unfortunately it is not a requirement that the dangers be listed on these products and consumers are led to believe that just because it’s on the shelf at the supermarket or department store it’s safe.
There is an interesting documentary on netflix at the moment called ‘stink’. One story documents a teenage boy who goes into anaphylactic shock anytime he inhales particles from a popular deodorant which is marketed at his age group and widely used at his school. His mother has been trying to negotiate with the company that makes the deodorant to find out what chemicals are used under the umbrella term ‘fragrance’ so they can then narrow down which chemical it is that he has an adverse reaction to. The company declines to provide the information. ‘Fragrance’ can include any assortment of natural or synthetic chemicals mixed together to achieve a particular scent. However we presume it is just 1 ingredient where it can really be a mixture of any number of undisclosed toxins.
Every time we purchase these items we are giving our vote to companies to keep making these products.
It’s not only a concern of the effects these chemicals have on our entire body as they are absorbed through the skin in moisturisers and lotions and under our arms around our lymph systems and breast tissue with deodorants, but the mass production of such a huge amount of chemicals and the effects it has on our environment. The toxic waste from the manufacturing process along with the household run off from the population has seen our oceans filled with tons of combined chemicals and billions of plastic microbeads from face and body scrubs. Studies have shown that the plastic microbeads act like tiny magnets attracting pollutants and basically become a super concentrate of toxic plastic. The beads are so small that fish unknowingly ingest them. And then you guessed it, when we eat these fish we are also consuming the toxins which are known to cause neurological problems and immune and hormone dysfunctions…. YIKES!
So this brings us to here. To the place we sit right now where we get to make decisions for ourselves and for our planet and for the future of it all.
The only way I can see to move forward is to live in harmony so our bodies can thrive and the planet we take so much from can thrive too! An holistic approach for me means to look at the WHOLE picture. To thoughtfully use items longer, to steer clear of plastics where possible, to reduce the amount of chemicals and artificial ingredients we use in our foods and our personal hygiene items. To treat our bodies and minds well with fresh air, fresh foods and water and reduce our interactions with people, places and past times that don’t nourish our souls.
A tub of magic lotion will never be the answer to living a youthful life. Its only when we decide to take care of every aspect of our lives that we truly flourish and glow.
And for me that means listening to my body more when it says “hey there, stop and rest for a while”. Thankfully, my mystery pain went away after a week of taking it easy and going s l o w. A timely reminder that we are not invincible, indestructible or destined to be here forever.
If you are inspired to begin your journey of holistic living and reduce your interactions with toxins but not quite sure where to start, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hop on my website www.elkwoodholisticliving.com for a range of natural, ethical & sustainable products.